I spent Memorial Day weekend this year in the northern Black Hills in western South Dakota. The weekend was mostly a mini family reunion; so, that meant drink coffee, eat, chit chat, repeat. However, Nancy of Prairie View Imagery and I did find time to hit up a few of the highlights of Spearfish Canyon. Even though I was raised in South Dakota, I have not spent much time in the Black Hills, but Nancy was an excellent guide! Sadly, with the cold and rainy spring, even though it was the end of May, few trees had budded out and had leaves. At least the above average snow in the winter accompanied by the spring rains meant more water flowing through the canyon and over the waterfalls! I thought Spearfish Falls were especially picturesque.
Yellowstone National Park…I currently own five maps that cover the topography and trails of the entire park. Yet, I have never been in the Yellowstone backcountry. In fact, I have only visited Yellowstone once. Even though I have moved to Wyoming, the park’s closest entrance is still a four and a half hour drive from my home in Casper. Even with the long drive, I plan to visit America’s first National Park many times to come; in fact, I’ve officially booked a four day backpacking trip into its backcountry this August!
Until August, all I can do is look at my earlier images from the park and dream of what sites are to come. I’m so excited, I had to share a few…
After spending last summer working in southern Florida, I’ve been itching for months now to get out and camp in the mountains. Last weekend, after nearly a year and a half break from camping in the mountains, I headed up to the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. Not only was this trip my first camping trip of the summer, but was the first time I’ve ever camped in the Bighorn Range. After an above average snow year, I was not able to penetrate very deep into the mountains, but still found a great camping spot in a massive meadow along Tensleep Creek.
I got into the mountains later than I had hoped and had little time to set up camp and then get out and shoot sunset. I was only able to get off a handful of quick pictures before darkness set in. If I would have known it would have been my only colorful sunrise or sunset of the weekend, I may have hustled more to get out of Casper earlier! I woke up Saturday morning to an inch or so on the ground! While the sunrise was pretty much non-existent due to the cloud cover, I still had fun running around taking pictures before the snow melted off.
An uncommon occurrence in Wyoming, there was little wind on Saturday morning. I took advantage of the lack of wind and enjoyed the reflections of the mountains in the ample pools melt water.
Even without the high peaks of the Bighorns in view, incredible views still abound. After my morning photography exploration, I set off on a hike up to East Tensleep Lake. I was surprised to find that even though the lake sits around 9700′, about three feet of still still holds on in the forests surrounding the lake! I guess it will still be some time before I press into the high country!
After hiking to East Tensleep Lake, I ended up enjoying a nap in my tent while another small snow storm blew through. At this point, I was wondering if it was really mid-June or was it actually mid-May. The storm did pass and I was able to head back out in time to shoot sunset and then later, the full moon; but, I will share those images another day.